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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: Codes
Date Sat, 22 Jun 2013 17:17:33 GMT
The longstanding bugzilla feature request (it is thought of as a bug) about this is #3395.
 It was opened in March 2002 and the last flurry of activity added comments in 2012.  

The list of duplicates of this issue continues to grow as well.

Because there are no codes to reveal in the manner by which WordPerfect offers them, I think
we get stuck in the question of being like WordPerfect.  That does not mean, as noted in this
thread, that there is not a problem for which some sort of formatting analysis feature would
be extremely useful in unraveling a formatting problem.

There are known, by now classic, catch-22 situations where an user takes an action, it appears
to have been accepted, but nothing changes.  There are also effects that resist removal. 
And there is no way, short of analyzing the ODF format produced, to understand what is happening
in the case of OpenOffice-lineage applications and just where a successful action can occur.

This is not a "just reveal the codes" situation.  Being able to surface some UI ability to
reveal the sources of the feature controls that govern a point in the user-perceived document
text may require both deep and wide modification of current code.  That does not make the
feature undesirable.  It makes it costly.  Even with agreement among developers, there is
the problem of enrolling open-source developers to investigate and introduce it.  And it won't
happen by unilateral contribution alone.  There must be serious testing and other work to
ensure that nothing is destabilized.  Finally, there must be an agreement among developers
regarding how the user experience is to be achieved and presented.  Help files and user documentation
must reflect the capability.  Edge cases have to be quashed or handled (e.g., what happens
with text that is part of visible change tracking).

There was an *extension* that attempted to offer a way to reveal formatting (with similar
appearance to "reveal codes").  That extension has languished for many years.  It doesn't
appear to be compatible with 3.x and later descendants.  The extension approach
might be the only way to move from proof of concept to something more comprehensive and robust
integrated into the product.  

Last year, T. J. Frazier took a run at the problem, creating this wiki page: <>.
 Someone would need to step in and provide the heavy lifting that remains.

No amount of circling around the desirability or the non-necessity of such a provision is
going to accomplish anything.  Someone with the necessary skills must be prepared to act.
 Absent that, nothing changes.

 - Dennis

PS: Paragraph level formatting is not the whole story, as Rory points out.  ODF and OpenOffice
support <text:span> elements and they are used in the introduction of character-level
control.  The search rules with regard to how a specific formatting feature is determined
are non-trivial, involving hierarchic precedence in the structure of the document and in the
styles that are appealed to in that document structure.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Rory O'Farrell [] 
Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 07:35 AM
Subject: Re: Codes

On Sat, 22 Jun 2013 08:57:42 -0400
"Virgil Arrington" <> wrote:

> Eric,
> I would fully agree with you if OO worked like WP, but they work entirely 
> differently.
[ ... ]
> Like you and others, I was originally put off by the lack of reveal codes in 
> OO. But, once I learned the different program paradigm, I realized that 
> reveal codes would be totally superfluous in a program like OO because 
> formatting is handled at the paragraph level, not in a linear stream of text 
> plus codes. Since learning how the program works with paragraph formatting 
> and, especially, styles, I've never found any need whatsoever for reveal 
> codes.
> Virgil
> -----Original Message----- 
> >From: Eric Fenster
> Sent: Saturday, June 22, 2013 8:24 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Codes
> Whoopee! The absence of reveal codes is up for discussion again, and we 
> continue to have defenders of the absence of this great WP tool.
> It allows SEEING where things happen and CHANGING them by deleting the 
> codes.
> It is an ADDITIONAL convenience, not a requirement. Nobody is forced to 
> display the reveal codes window.
[ ... ]
> >
> > -----Original Message----- From: Tamblyne
> > Sent: Friday, June 21, 2013 5:29 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: Codes
> >
> > Hi, Patricia --
> >
> > Of course, you're going to be told -- and I can see that you
> > already
> > have -- that "you're not doing it right."  Use
> > styles.  Styles will,
> > apparently, take care everything, including promote world
> > peace, as well
> > as fix all that's wrong with your document.
> >
> > Perhaps if we asked for "reveal styles" instead of "reveal
> > codes," we
> > could get some progress on this issue.  The View >
> > Non-printing
> > characters doesn't help much unless what you're looking for
> > is carriage
> > returns/line-feeds, as far as I can tell.  It certainly
> > doesn't tell me
> > what styles are being applied to any given portion of the
> > document.  And
> > it doesn't show formatting codes, either.
[ ... ]
> >
> > On 6/20/2013 6:54 PM, Patricia Hickin wrote:
> > > Is there any way to reveal codes in OO (the way you can
> > in WordPerfect)?
> > >
> > > I am having a problem with the following:
[ ... ]

It is worth remembering that as well as Paragraph styles, OpenOffice has Character Styles,
which allow you to change character attributes mid paragraph.

[ ... ]

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